Can I Claim For Medical Negligence After 20 years?
When suing for medical negligence, one important thing you have to bear in mind is the medical negligence limitation period. For you to make successful claims against the NHS, your claims must ideally be made within the l negligence claims time limit otherwise they would be statute barred.
However, there are still circumstances where it may be possible for you to make a compensation claim for medical negligence after 3 years. In such cases, it is important that you speak to your solicitor who will be able to examine your case and know if you qualify for an exception.
Medical Negligence Claim After 3 Years
The usual medical negligence time limit is three years and this is known as the “Limitation period”. The Limitation Act of 2018 stipulates that a claimant will have only three years within which medical negligence claims have to be made.
There are two important dates that define the beginning of this three years period-
- The date the medical negligence occurred
- The date you discovered that the injury or harm you are suffering or suffered from was as a result of medical negligence.
As earlier pointed out, you have only three years from either of these dates (whichever comes later) to make your claim but there are exceptions to this rule which can allow you to even make a claim for medical negligence after 10 years or even after 20 years. It is therefore expected that you seek legal advice to know your chances of having a successful claim against the NHS.
Compensation Claim For Medical Negligence After 20 years
Here are the exceptions to the Limitation Act which may allow you to make claims after three years.
- Cases involving a child
- Injured party lacked the mental capacity to make claims
- Death of the injured person
With these in mind and possibly some other factors as it applies to your case, your solicitor will be able to make a thorough evaluation of your case and let you know if you can make a claim or not.
Cases Involving A Child
In cases involving children, a medical negligence claim can be made after the time limit of three years as the victim is still a minor and unable to make claims by themselves. It is also possible in this case for the individual to claim for medical negligence after 20 years as long as the individual is not up to 21. The three-year time limit only starts when an individual is an adult.
Therefore, if the medical negligence occurred when the individual was less than a year old, claims can be made after 20 years but before the individual must not be over 21 years of age. Speaking to a medical negligence solicitor will be recommended so that they can thoroughly evaluate the chances of such claims since it has taken a long time.
However, the parents of the child or guardians can make claims for the child rather than wait until the child is old enough to make claims by themselves
Injury Party Lacked The Mental Capacity To Make Claims
In the event that the victim of medical negligence suffers an injury that affects their mental capabilities and making it impossible for them to make a claim, the limitation window can be waived. As soon as the person becomes mentally fit to make claims, the limitation period will begin to count.
In this scenario, someone else (litigation friend) may be able to bring claims on their behalf.
Death of the injured person
In the unfortunate incident that the negligent treatment led to the death of the victim, the limitation period will begin to count from the day of death. However, there are also occasions where the deceased’s family is allowed ample time to mourn their loved one, afterwards, they can bring their claims.
Why Should I Make My Claims Early Enough?
As much as you may be able to claim for medical negligence after 20 years depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, there are some reasons why you should make your claims as soon as you become aware of the medical negligence.
Filing a medical negligence case earlier gives you a better chance of winning the case. The longer you stay before making your claims, the more difficult it becomes to prove it. Making claims earlier makes it easier to access documents and evidence which can boost your chances of winning your claim.
Additionally, you can get some form of compensation known as “interim payments” while the case is going on to help you get better medical attention or treat the consequences of the negligent treatment suffered. Also, such funds will go a long way in improving your living standards and increase your chances of returning to full health.
How Long Does A Medical Negligence Claim Take?
The period of time before your medical negligence claim is won will be determined by several factors which includes willingness or reluctance of the defendant to accept liability, time take to access and provide relevant documents and pieces of evidence, complexity of the case, number of parties involved as well as if the claim will get to court or not.
For a straightforward medical negligence claim where liability is accepted, it can be settled within 18 to 24 months. On the other hand, if the case goes to court, it may take between three and four years to be settled.
Do you have claims to make or you wish to make further enquiries, please call our helplines to reach out to our no win no fee medical negligence solicitors who are always available to ensure that you get the best legal advice and have your claims handled expertly by specialist solicitors. Our claims are handled without you having to pay for any legal cost through our no win no fee policy.